Sponsor Interview: Providing safety and security during the Games through a collaborative framework

Mr. Chubachi of SECOM (to the left) and Mr. Moriya of ALSOK (to the right)

In preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020 Games), multiple private security companies joined hands to establish the “Joint Venture Group for Tokyo 2020 Games Security” (Tokyo 2020 Security JV).

A wide range of support is required for a smooth event operation that will deliver many inspiring moments and ensure the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Games security plays a pivotal role in the Games operation, working behind the scene to provide a safe and secure Games so that athletes can focus on giving their best performance and spectators can enjoy the Games without any anxiety or stress.

SECOM Co., Ltd., (SECOM) and Sohgo Security Services Co., Ltd., (ALSOK), are Tokyo 2020 Official Partners in the Security Services and Planning category, and they have had many discussions with The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) regarding the security operation of the Games. The two companies agreed that the best way to fulfil their mission of providing a safe and successful Games is to handle the task under an “all-Japan framework” involving multiple private security firms, and this led to the establishment of the Tokyo 2020 Security JV. In addition to SECOM and ALSOK, the founding members include;
Efforts will continue to solicit the participation of other security firms to complement the all-Japan framework. Ultimately, over 100 firms are estimated to join the Tokyo 2020 Security JV. The security of the Games will be undertaken by a scheme that has never been attempted before.

We interviewed representatives from the two promoting members of the Tokyo 2020 Security JV, SECOM and ALSOK, and asked them what is involved in the security of a large-scale event like the Olympic and Paralympic Games, what the Tokyo 2020 Security JV is aiming for, and other aspects of security we usually do not have the opportunity to hear.

Mr. Chubachi (SECOM): “I want to give back to the Olympic Games.”

Mr. Moriya (ALSOK): “I hope the security industry can create a new movement through this all-Japan framework.”

How the JV was established

Q: The Games will be safeguarded by a joint venture established by SECOM, ALSOK and a number of other security firms across the industry. How were you able to work with your competitors and agree to form this joint venture?

Mr. Chubachi, Manager, Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Headquarters:
In the Candidacy File, the number of security personnel presented to the IOC was 14,000. However, this was just a forecast. SECOM and ALSOK are Tokyo 2020 Official Partners in the Security Services and Planning category, and we were faced with the challenge of securing enough security personnel for this large-scale global event. Our concern stemmed from the review of the past two Games in London and Rio de Janeiro. We learned that the private security firms responsible for providing the security personnel were not able to meet the requirement in both cases. We couldn't allow that to happen during the Tokyo 2020 Games, and we have been searching for a solution to fulfil everyone's expectations for a safe and secure Games. After many discussions, we concluded that establishing a joint venture under an “all-Japan framework” was the answer. We decided to put aside our rivalry and contribute as an industry team to support the Games.

Q: Was it difficult to agree upon the structure?

The origin of both SECOM and ALSOK are deeply related to the Olympic Games, so we wanted to give back to the Olympic and Paralympic Games somehow. Discussion started from scratch and we eventually arrived at the conclusion that a joint venture would be the best structure.

Mr. Moriya, Manager, Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Promotion Dept., ALSOK:
The security industry was born as a legacy of the 1964 Games. Our greatest motivation is to express our appreciation for the legacy of the previous Tokyo Games by contributing to the Tokyo 2020 Games.

SECOM was founded two years before the Tokyo 1964 Games. We were approached by Mr. Jun Murai, who was the deputy general secretary of the organising committee and later founded ALSOK, and we were requested to provide about 100 security personnel during the Games. So you can see that SECOM and ALSOK have a connection through the Olympic Games.

Mr. Moriya (ALSOK) looks at the screen as he responds to a question.

A group photo

What is expected of the JV

Q: What expectations do you have from the Tokyo 2020 Security JV? Each firm works under a different system so it must be difficult to coordinate.

We must secure the required number of security personnel for the Tokyo 2020 Games so I hope we can have as many companies as possible join the Tokyo 2020 Security JV. The Olympic and Paralympic Games is a special event that will be remembered forever so it shouldn't be just SECOM and ALSOK pitching in. All the firms participating in the joint venture should feel proud. The JV should be a team effort at the industry level, and we want this “all-Japan framework” to drive the creation of a new movement. Each firm has a different approach to so we will establish an Olympic and Paralympic version to provide a seamless security operation. For example, every firm has their own rule about saluting, so we will discuss and agree upon a single saluting form exclusively for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Q: Regarding the operational structure, how will the tasks and responsibilities be split among the joint venture members? And what is the most critical aspect you are focusing on toward 2020?

The basic framework of the security operation will be discussed and decided by the Tokyo 2020 Security JV and Tokyo 2020. We hope that many security firms will participate in this framework, and the joint venture secretariat will study how to smoothly deliver the security that we are expected to provide for the Games.

We will aim for a “comprehensive operation” through this ground-breaking joint venture framework. In usual cases, we enter into a security contract with each venue that requires our services. However, if we use this structure for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the security personnel assigned to each venue will be fixed, and the operation will not be efficient. If we adopt a “comprehensive operation”, let's say that on a given day this venue has no competition going on so we can assign the security personnel there to another venue, and we could respond to the needs very efficiently. Of course there are issues, but the joint venture is ready to take on this challenge that nobody in the industry has ever tried before. Each member of the Tokyo 2020 Security JV has its own unique corporate culture. There is even a big difference between SECOM and ALSOK. The security operation provided through the joint venture will have a new set of standards tailor made for the for the Olympic and Paralympic Games based on the knowledge and experience of all its member companies. And I believe that this will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

In preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games

Q: What is the biggest challenge in preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Games?

The biggest task for us is educating the security guards. We must consider what level of security we should provide, how we are going to guarantee the level and quality of security, and how we are going to inform everyone about it. There will be many guests from abroad visiting Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. How are we going to respond to the multi-language requirements? There are so many issues we have to consider. There is a word, “omotenashi”. Too much security can become too imposing or threatening. On the other hand, putting too much weight on “omotenashi” could result in the security to become too lenient, and we cannot have that. It is critical to find the right balance.

Not everyone in the security industry has the experience of working on a major event like the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We hope to contribute to a safe and secure Games by providing high-quality service made possible by thoroughly educating all those concerned with security.

Q: What are some of the security measures that will be implemented on the streets and in the competition venues?

In terms of security measures, it is important to have everyone participating, from the staff to the volunteers and the spectators, to be security-conscious. For instance, when you find a suspicious bag, you should be alarmed and contact the nearest security guard. That kind of response will help improve the overall level of security. Security is based on the prevention of spreading damage, and the ideal is to prevent any damage from occurring. It is most important to notice an irregularity and prevent any event from happening. We will inform people of the importance of awareness and prevention so that we can successfully organise a safe and secure Games.

When designing the security plan, we will prepare for all possible scenarios so that there is nothing left out. What if something happens that causes the crowd to go into a panic state, or what if there is smoke or a big bang. How are we going to evacuate the crowd smoothly to a safe area. We will prepare for all these scenarios and make sure we have the information we need. Even if something happens, the joint venture structure will enable us to share information across the different venues. We can exchange information about an incident that occurred in a different venue and be prepared. In that sense, the joint venture is a ground-breaking framework that will allow us to handle the security of the Games under “one team”.

Security challenges of the Tokyo 2020 Games

Q: What are the challenges you face in providing safety for the Games?

The important thing is to protect the competition schedule for the athletes. We must make sure that the Games operation is protected and the guests are also protected. We cannot have a delay in the competition schedule because of some security issue.

The security force works behind the scenes. People come to watch the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the event is full of excitement – that is what stirs our emotion. Our task as security providers is to protect that precious moment, and we can say our mission was successful if we can provide that protection. I believe it is our responsibility to safeguard the emotional moments people experience from the athletes' performances, and to make sure that they are shared by people all over the world.

Q: What will the legacy of the joint venture be? We can say that legacy = culture.

I think that being involved in an unparalleled large-scale event such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games as an “all-Japan” team and gaining the experience of contributing to the success of the Games will be the legacy for the security industry.

I hope we can demonstrate to the world the high quality of security that Japan can provide. I also believe that the experience of the Tokyo 2020 Games will undoubtedly improve the level of the Japanese security industry.

Determination toward the Tokyo 2020 Games

Q: Please share your determination toward the Tokyo 2020 Games.

At the April 3 ceremony to formally establish the Tokyo 2020 Security JV, Chief Security Officer Toshiro Yonemura said, “The success of the Tokoyo 2020 Games will not be possible without the success of the joint venture.” Those words are engraved in my mind, and I will make every effort to ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Security JV will take all necessary measures to safeguard the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The most important role of the security industry is to make sure the athletes can focus on giving their best performance. Safeguarding the excitement and emotions will be our utmost priority.

It was impressive to hear that the security plan will be prepared with all possible scenarios in mind with nothing left out. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will work closely with SECOM, ALSOK and the other member companies of the Tokyo 2020 Security JV to prepare a security framework unlike any other in order to provide a safe environment for athletes, spectators, volunteers and all other parties concerned!

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